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Local cliffs closed for peregrine falcon nesting season

Peregrine Falcon_2022.jpg
Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service
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U.S. Forest Service archive photo of a peregrine falcon flying in 1979.

The U.S. Forest Service is closing several rock faces in Western North Carolina through August to protect the rare peregrine falcons nests.

Peregrine falcons mate for life and return to the same site each year to nest. They dig their nests into the face of a cliff.

At this time, recreational activities such as rock climbing, rappelling, ice climbing, bouldering, hang gliding and slacklining are all prohibited at the listed cliffs. Drone use around the rock faces and within posted areas is also prohibited.

RockClimbingFalconList_USDA.png
Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service
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Click to enlarge the full list of closures.

In the Nantahala National Forest, Pickens Nose and Whiteside Mountain are off limits.
While in Pisgah National Forest, Looking Glass Rock and Victory Wall are also included in the closures.

Check out the graphic to the right for the full list.

Overnight camping within posted areas is also not allowed. Through-hiking on designated trails is permitted within the posted boundaries but hikers should not approach the rock faces listed.

In 2021, twelve baby peregrine falcons were born thanks to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s efforts to monitor the nests with volunteers.

The falcons are “crow-sized" raptors with black feathers on their head which looks like a hood, according to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

It is currently listed as "threatened." In 1970, the peregrine falcon became an endangered species. Then through various reintroduction programs the bird recovered its population and was removed from the endangered list in 1999.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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